When you’re having a glass of wine in the comfort of your own home, you can enjoy it in whatever way you like, but when you are out in public, there’s a certain etiquette that should be followed. Because of wine’s historical relevance and the fact that it is considered a luxurious liquid, it is one of the few drinks where manners come into play when tasting, drinking, and pouring it, and getting it right shows all those you’re with that you’re sophisticated.
Before you plan your next dinner, here are some of the most important practices to know when sharing wine with others.
Wine Tasting Etiquette
If you are attending a wine tasting event, it’s important to avoid wearing fragrance because so much of the wine tasting experience involves the wine’s aroma. Wearing a strong perfume or aftershave will compete with the wine aroma to the point that it could ruin the experience for you and the other guests.
Between each tasting, make sure you cleanse your palate with a sip of water or a bite of cracker or other small hors d’oeuvres. Avoid drinking too much, too quickly. Tasting is a slow process that involves taking a closer inventory of the wine’s characteristics and flavor profile.
When tasting a wine, do so in the following manner:
- Once the wine is poured into your glass, take a close look at the color, clarity, and overall appearance of the wine.
- Hold the wine glass by the stem to avoid getting fingerprints on the bowl.
- Focus on the viscosity of the liquid. The more droplets that stick to the side of the glass the higher the alcohol content.
- Bring the glass to your nose and sniff to take in the aromas. Take a moment to think about what you smell and don’t smell and anticipate what the wine will taste like.
- Put the glass to your lips and take a sip. Roll the liquid around in your mouth for a moment to savor the taste before either swallowing it or spitting it out into a spittoon.
- Reflect on your impressions and how they meet or miss your expectation and don’t be afraid to ask questions to learn more about the vintage.
- Between tastings, swill your glass with water to ensure it is clean for the next wine.
- Be mindful to taste the wine from the same spot on the glass to avoid getting unsightly lip marks all over the rim.
Wine Drinking Etiquette
When you’re at a party, hosting a dinner, or having a drink with colleagues, you should take many of the same etiquette approaches as when tasting wine, such as holding the glass by the stem, smelling the wine before drinking, and drinking from the same position on your wine glass. But there are still other tips you should follow to ensure you are displaying an appropriate level of sophistication. These include:
- Clinking glasses bell to bell instead of rim to rim. This reduces the risk of an accidental break.
- When clinking glasses with another, look the other person in the eyes.
- Keep the amount of wine in your glass as close to the same level as those around you.
- Avoid downing a glass of wine in one gulp or drinking too quickly. Take small sips. Wine is to be savored.
Wine Pouring Etiquette
Pouring wine is an art and by pouring it correctly, you show those around you that you know what you’re doing. When pouring, you should hold the bottle by the base and rotate the bottom side of the bottle away from you as you stop pouring. This trick might take some time to perfect, but getting it right helps ensure the tip of the bottle doesn’t drip when pulling it away from the glass. Until you master it, you should use a napkin or paper towel to catch any drips.
Wine glasses are shaped in a bell shape for a reason – the unique shape allows the wine to breathe. But it can only breathe if the right amount is poured into the glass. When pouring wine, fill the glass less than half-way. The standard pour of wine is about 5-6 ounces. And before refilling your own glass, be a conscientious host and offer wine to your guests first.
The same rules apply whether you’re serving red wine, white wine, rose’, dessert wine, or champagne. Practice them when you’re enjoying wine at home, so the next time you host a party or get invited to an event, you’ll look like a seasoned pro.